Nike is celebrating two of the best athletes in the world with a new capsule that honors the path of duality.
The brand tapped NBA star LeBron James and soccer phenomenon Kylian Mbappé for a drop of champions, delivering a twist on both of their signature footwear styles: the Nike LeBron 18 for $225 and the Nike Mercurial Mbappé “Chosen 2” for $295. The shoes have a member-exclusive drop today before a global release at Nike.com on Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. ET.
The brand’s decision to simultaneously release the contrasting footwear styles originated from the two sports stars’ paralleling backstories. Though they come from different parts of the world, both James and Mbappé earned the reputation of hometown heroes through perseverance in the face of hardship. Both athletes as well have now gone on to turn their struggles into success both on and off the court and the pitch with their eponymous charitable organizations and efforts to assist future generations.
As for James, the new colorway of his latest signature sneaker iteration takes on a darkened color scheme starting with black Knitposite uppers. The contrasting elements appear in its translucent sole and iridescent heel clip, complete with a one-of-a-kind LeBron x Kylian graphic. A basketball x soccer graphic also appears on the sockliner as well as on the tongue.
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Mbappé’s style follows a similar route, this time incorporating the design themes into a soccer cleat. A black and silver mixed colorway with an iridescent sheen serves as the star of the show, as does a mirrored Swoosh symbol representing the motif of duality throughout the capsule. Topped off with a three-dimensional logo symbolizing both athletes, the style finishes with a familiar combined football and soccer motif throughout the design.
As part of the new capsule, Nike Inc. also announced it will be making a donation to Mbappe’s foundation IBKM (Inspired by Kylian Mbappé) and LeBron James Family Foundation.